Just three months after packing everything up for the 2011 season in Brazil, the show is back on the road as the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship gets underway in Australia. A renewed HRT Formula 1 Team takes to the track in Melbourne with the F112 having seen the light only a few days ago but with some mileage under its belt. A step forward from last year but having missed out on preseason testing, the Spanish outfit faces a tough challenge at Albert Park next weekend. But the team has proved that with hard work and effort anything is possible.
Albert Park is a street circuit that has been hosting the Australian Grand Prix since 1996. This track is used once a year for the celebration of this event, resulting in very low grip, especially towards the beginning of the weekend, but it improves as the days progress. It is a quick, high downforce track with few straights but plenty of overtaking opportunities and hard braking areas. Pirelli have elected their medium and soft tyres for the opening round of the season.
"I'm feeling positive ahead of the Australian Grand Prix after having completed 10 laps with the new F112 last Monday. Of course this was only a first contact and we didn't push it to the limit but the important thing was to get the ball rolling. It's not ideal to miss testing but we must look forward now. The new management have done an incredible job putting everything together and we'll do the best we can to continue progressing. We're in the right direction. Last year we only managed to complete five laps in the third practice session and failed to qualify for the race, so I'm looking to etch out that memory".
Pedro de la Rosa:
"After a long winter of hard work, we've finally made it to Australia and are really looking forward to trying the car out and continue learning. We need to try and make the most of our time on Friday and Saturday morning to make it to qualifying and the race in the best possible conditions. We would have liked to have come with more mileage but I think it's an achievement to have made it with a 100% new car and a practically new team. Our aim is to do things well, with seriousness and patience.
Albert Park is a circuit I like a lot because there are many overtaking opportunities and hard braking areas, besides various chicanes. It's a track where you have to drive aggressively and know how to ride over a lot of kerbs. The most important aspect of the car is braking, traction and its top speed, which is why the DRS will play an important role".
We've spent three months working relentlessly
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal:
"It doesn't seem true but the first race of the season is already upon us. We've spent three months working relentlessly, but the team and the car are ready for the great task ahead of us. We have done a lot of things since the last race of 2011 in Brazil and I'm very proud of the entire team but, without a doubt, the hardest part comes now. We know where we are but also where we wish to be and with the team spirit and sacrifice that we have shown, I'm convinced that we can achieve it".